A Brief Note on Recent Events
Mostly replicating what I said earlier today on Twitter, but it’s worth repeating:
A few folks are giving me credit for Random House’s contract revisions, so let me be the first to say: Thanks, but no. At the very least, there many other people and organizations who deserve more credit. In particular Victoria Strauss, who has been covering this all for Writer Beware, and who has been doing so much in public and behind the scenes, gets my vote as the key person here. She was fantastic in initially bringing the issue to light and keeping everyone updated.
Several writers organizations (SFWA, RWA and HWA notably) brought attention to the issue, kept their members updated and gave them advice, or were in communication with Random House in one manner or another. Writers kept the conversation going online, and media outlets like the Guardian and Publishers Weekly among many others raised the profile of the issue. Last but definitely not least, Random House (and specifically Digital VP Allison Dobson) listened to complaints and concerns and worked in a serious manner to address those concerns.
In short: What I did was the least of what happened. This was a community effort and the community includes the organization the complaints were directed toward.
“We” didn’t win; Random House didn’t lose — or vice versa. What happened was a conversation on where writers and publishers are at this moment in history, in public and in real time. Random House listened and made adjustments based on the feedback it got. This is a praiseworthy event; I am glad they did it, and they deserve credit and thanks for doing so.
What happens at this point is things keep going. Writers’ organizations are going to keep their eyes on publishers, writers will talk to each other, the media will occasionally note what’s going on, and publishers will keep trying to stay in the swim of things as their industry changes, which it always does and is always doing. There will be flashpoints, some things will be resolved and some things won’t and thus will be continued to be watched.
That’s what happened here; we got some things dealt with and some things will continue to be looked at. It will happen again later, too, in a different way, with different actors. It’s how these things work.